EXCLUSIVE: One Direction Gets Candid About Zayn Malik's Departure
By Sophie Schillaci
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As Zayn Malik kickstarts his own solo career, his former bandmates aren't holding a grudge.
"I think in any field of work when you lose someone on your team, obviously it's hard, but the positive take on the situation is we felt we definitely got closer as a group," Louis Tomlinson told Entertainment Tonight's Samantha Harris in an exclusive sit-down in Belfast, Ireland. "We sat down and spoke about it -- this is something we all still want to do, so in the end we actually bonded together tighter, I think."
Tomlinson also sounded off on Malik's slyly-worded tweet, hinting that he would be making "real music" on his new solo project.
"Zayn did have different musical tastes, so that's fine," Tomlinson said.
The 23-year-old father-to-be sat down with Harry Styles and Niall Horan for ET's interview, while Liam Payne was out sick.
Amid reports that Payne and his longtime girlfriend split last month, his bandmates open up about what they're all looking for in a love interest. (Yes, they're all currently single and ready to mingle.)
A sneak peek of his new track, titled "Befour," could possibly be a subtle dig at his former boy band. The final album he contributed to with One Direction was titled Four.
"Life experiences have just been the influences for the album, and just stuff that I've been through especially in the last five years being in the band and everything," he tells The Fader. "It's a nice feeling to come out of a place where you are being told what to do ... just because of certain expectations are set and people want to see. It is just all my perspective. And that's fully liberating."
One Direction released their first album without Malik, Made in the A.M., on Friday, Nov. 13. Should it trump Justin Bieber's Purpose, released on the same day, for the No. 1 spot, it would mark the band's fifth chart-topping album in as many years.
"You know, you can't win in music. You can't," said Styles. "There's obviously a pressure, the fact that we feel like it's been a certain way in the past. Yes, obviously it would be very incredible for it to continue, but that's not what it's about for us. We want our fans to enjoy this album. We feel like it's the best one we've made. We're incredibly proud of it, we love it and and hope that they like it. That's what's most important."
Tune in to ETall week long for more from our exclusive interview with 1D!